Whether you have frizz, static, or just too many curls you need to wrangle, sometimes a flat iron is a girl’s best friend.
You’ll be surprised how easy it is – once you’ve learned the secrets to getting the most out of your flat iron.
Even straight hair needs a flat iron sometimes if you are going for that super sleek look.
While you can use a flat iron to crimp, curl, and do other fancy things with your hair, its most common use is straightening.
Before you venture out into the wild world of flat iron crimping, start with good straightening technique.
By using suitable straightening techniques and knowing which products to use on your hair both before and after, you will be able to straighten with a flat iron while simultaneously protecting your hair from any heat damage.
Let’s have a look at what it takes to achieve straight hair with a flat iron.
First, Make Sure You have the Right Type of Flat Iron
First, if you have a cheap, poor quality flat iron, you could be doing more harm than good.
If you own a ceramic flat iron, then you have an excellent tool for straightening your hair. Metal plates on a flat iron can singe hair. Ceramic is an excellent material for protecting hair. If you want to go for the big guns, get a tourmaline-ceramic flat iron.
Tourmaline is actually a gemstone with special properties. When used on a flat iron plate, it actually emits negative ions that remove static from hair scientifically.
Products You Need to Flat Iron Your Hair
Once you have a quality flat iron, you’ll want to get some hair products to support and protect your hair before, during, and after the ironing process.
WikiHow explains that it’s best to start at the beginning. When you’re washing your hair in preparation, make sure you use a shampoo and conditioner made with the goal of straightening hair. (Note: This is different from hair products designed for people with naturally straight hair.)
You’ll also need a heat protecting serum to apply to your hair before you begin to flat iron. This will protect your hair from heat damage.
For the straightening process, you’ll need a hairbrush and some clips.
For aftercare, it’s best to have a hairdryer, hairspray, and a post-straightening product or setting spray that you can apply to keep your hair as straight as possible.
Prepping Your Hair for Heat
You’ll need to prepare your hair for the heat of the flat iron. Here are some simple steps to preparing your hair properly.
1. Shampoo and Condition Your Hair
Once again, find a shampoo and conditioner that is formulated to help straighten hair. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Purchasing this from your local drugstore will be sufficient.
2. Pat Your Hair Dry
Instead of roughly applying the towel to your hair, take your towel and pat your hair dry gently in sections. This will allow you to soak up any excess water. Plus, you’ll prevent your hair from becoming frizzy.
3. Apply Thermal Protection to Your Hair
Before you flat iron your hair, apply a heat protectant gel or serum. This is your best bet for protecting your hair from heat damage. Implementing this step while your hair is still wet allows you to apply the serum evenly without creating clumps. Use a comb to brush to work the gel through your damp hair evenly.
4. Blow-Dry Your Hair
You want your hair to be completely dry when straightening it. Your flat iron will work better, and your hair won’t be as damaged by the heat. Remember to aim the hairdryer downwards along your hair, encouraging it to dry as straight as possible. Using a low heat setting will also help prevent any frizz.
Learning How to Straighten Hair with a Flat Iron
Now that your hair is ready to be straightened let’s see how to create a perfectly straightened look with your flat iron step by step.
1. Let Your Flat Iron Heat Up
Turn your flat iron on and wait for it to heat up. If you have a lot of thick hair, put your flat iron on a higher heat setting. If your hair is dry and brittle, have it on the lowest heat setting to prevent any further damage.
2. Section Your Hair
Separate your hair into several sections by using clips. The number of clips you use will depend on how thick your hair is. Each clip should hold about 1-2 inches of hair. As you straighten your hair, clip the next sections out of the way. Place the clips on top of your head so that they don’t interfere with the iron.
3. Start with the Roots
When you begin to straighten your hair, place the flat iron as close to the roots as possible. For an even result, place the flat iron an inch from your scalp.
4. Clamp Down on the Iron
Firmly clamp your flat iron down on your hair so that the two heated pads are touching with your hair in between. Don’t clamp too tightly – this will cause your hair to mark and have a crimp. You also should refrain from holding the flat iron in one spot for too long for the same reason.
5. Run the Flat Iron Down Your Hair
Run the flat iron all the way down this section of your hair to straighten it. You should use a smooth and fluid motion to ensure the hair is being straightened evenly. Remember, don’t hold the flat iron in one place for too long.
6. Repeat the Straightening Process
Run the flat iron down the same section of hair several times until it is as straight as you would like. The thickness of your hair will depend upon how many times you have to do this.
The lower your heat setting, the more you will have to run over each section. Don’t be worried if you see steam – this happens when the heat comes in contact with any moisture in your hair. If you smell burning hair, however, remove the iron immediately and turn the heat down.
7. Work on the Next Hair Section
Move the straightened piece of hair out of the way and unclip a new part to work with. It’s easiest to start on one side of your head and then move to the other – this way you can keep all the straightened hair together.
You might need to brush each section before you straighten it. If the straightened sections of hair are getting frizzy, you can apply hairspray as long as you are done ironing those sections. Be careful not to get hairspray on any of the parts you haven’t straightened yet, as this can interfere with the straightening process.
Keeping Your Hair Straight Afterwards
First, let’s talk about a reality check. No matter how much time you spend straightening your hair, if you get it wet again, it will revert back to its more natural state. So, rain, swimming, and even sweat can hurt your beautifully straightened hair.
Here are a few things you can do to help the straightening effect last a little longer, however:
1. Use Your Blow-Dryer to Set Your Straightened Hair
Once you have straightened all your hair, use your blow dryer to set it. Select the coldest setting on your blow-dryer and blow-dry your hair downwards according to the hair flow. This will set your straightened hair. You can use a brush to guide the direction of your hair as you do this.
2. Apply Hairspray or Other Setting Products
Once you’ve finished with your cool-down blow-dry, you can apply some product to set your hair. These are any post-ironing products designed to make sure your hair stays straight. For example, you can use a hairspray to set your hair if you think it might get frizzy. You can also use a setting spray to keep your hair straighter for longer.
3. Remember to Bring an Umbrella
If you live somewhere it is prone to rain, carry an umbrella with you when you go out. This will keep the moisture off your hair and prevent it from becoming curly again. Note: Umbrellas can’t stop humidity from turning up the frizz-factor on your hair. This is where good styling product comes in (see point two above)
The Dos and Don’ts of Flat Ironing
Now that you’ve mastered the art of straightening hair with your flat iron, let’s look at a couple of tips to remember. You want to make sure you get the straightest hair possible while looking after it.
1. Don’t Straighten Wet Hair
Samantha Faragalli of InStyle says that it is imperative you don’t straighten your hair when it is wet. You could burn your hair and cause a lot of damage.
2. Don’t Use the Hottest Setting
The ideal temperature for your flat iron is 365 degrees. This means that anything hotter is too hot and will damage your hair. The best flat irons will have heat controls that will prevent the iron from getting too hot.
3. Do Section Of Your Hair
For best results, section your hair before you begin straightening. This will help you finish with an even look, as you will be able to reach even the hardest of places to straighten.
4. Do Start at the Roots
If you start the flat iron halfway down your hair, you are asking for trouble. Starting at the roots will also help to create an even look throughout and can prevent crimping.
5. Do Use an Anti-Frizz Serum
If you want long-lasting straight hair that doesn’t frizz, try using an anti-frizz setting serum to catch any flyaways and solidify a look that will last.
Flat Ironing Hair FAQ
Before you get the all-clear to straighten your hair, let’s look over some frequently asked questions.
How Long Does My Hair Stay Straight?
This can be anywhere from a few hours – in a humid atmosphere – to a few days (as long as you don’t wash it). Post-straightening products will make it stay straighter for longer.
How Often Can I Straighten My Hair?
If your hair is healthy, you can straighten it every 2-4 days. You must ensure you are following safe straightening techniques and are conditioning your hair well. That said, women use flat irons daily despite the recommendations, so you will have to test and see what works best for you.
Is It Healthy to Iron My Hair Daily?
No. It could cause your hair to become dry and brittle. The truth is, using any sort of hot appliance on your hair will tend to weaken the hair and cause some damage. This includes your hair dryer and curling iron as well.
Will My Hair Be Straight After I Shampoo It?
Once your hair gets wet in any way, it will go back to its original state. It’s best to straighten your hair on dry or sunny days when you know it won’t get wet.
Should I Wash My Hair Before Straightening It?
Having clean hair is recommended because dirty hair can cause frizz. If you choose to condition your hair, make sure it is rinsed out well, as the conditioner could burn with the flat iron heat.
The Best Way to Flat Iron Your Hair
Ultimately, the best way to flat iron your hair is to simply be methodical and take your time.
Flat ironing your hair can be a tedious process, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be easy.
By following the steps above, you can achieve perfectly straightened hair without too much damage.
So, be sure to take care of your hair to give it the best chance of looking great.